If you’ve bought a home, you’ve likely heard the term escrow. In the homebuying process, escrow can be used to hold a good faith deposit while the contract is being finalized. It can also be used after the home is purchased to pay for property taxes, homeowners insurance, or mortgage insurance. In these instances, money held in escrow is managed by an independent, third-party intermediary. However, escrow is also common during the process of investing in a company, where the escrow provider takes custody of funds and assets until specific transaction conditions are met. But what exactly is the role of an escrow provider in a transaction? What responsibilities do they have? And when should they be utilized?
What is an Escrow Provider?
An escrow provider is an independent third-party intermediary which ensures that a transaction is completed in accordance with the rules of the agreement. An escrow provider collects, holds, and distributes funds on behalf of the individuals involved in a transaction. The help of certified escrow providers ensures that both parties meet their obligations and bring confidence to complete a transaction reliably.
In many cases, the buyer and seller agree to use an escrow provider for several advantages, such as:
- Mitigating the risk of nonpayment or fraud
- Ensuring that all funds are securely handled
- Being an impartial third party to the transaction
The process when utilizing an escrow provider generally includes:
- Creating a contract outlining the obligations of the buyer and seller
- Depositing funds into an escrow account
- Ensuring that all conditions of the agreement are met before releasing funds
At the same time, technology can play an important role in the escrow process. For example, smart contracts that leverage blockchain technology can be programmed to automatically transfer assets between two parties once the conditions of the contract have been met. This can automate some of the escrow process, which can help to streamline the escrow process.
JOBS Act and Escrow
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act has since become a major factor in creating a secure capital-raising environment in the private capital markets. To raise capital, issuers must follow securities regulations to ensure compliance in the capital-raising process. This provides an additional layer of protection for investors and startups raising capital.
An essential component of compliance includes finding an escrow provider to administer transactions. This ensures that all funds are handled securely and that a third-party intermediary manages the transaction. Putting investors and issuers at ease by bringing peace of mind to the transaction.
Escrow providers are essential for any type of business transaction where an impartial third-party intermediary is involved. With an increase in accredited and nonaccredited investors alike being involved in the private capital markets thanks to the JOBS Act, it is crucial to ensure that one is involved in the capital raising process. Whether you are an investor or issuer, using an escrow provider guarantees all funds are handled correctly while avoiding financial risk or fraud.